An anti-feminist “fart rape” meme is proliferating on the internet, but Snopes is on the case.
The prominent fact-checking website debunked the concept in a blog post published on Monday.
Snopes claimed it had received “multiple inquiries” from readers concerned about “fart rape” as an “authentic feminist principle.”
According to Snopes, several memes and and online posts attacking feminists for purportedly believing in “fart rape” resurfaced in 2019 and were referenced by high-profile figures such as Gary Holt, guitarist for Slayer.
The site provides an example of the meme, which contains a quote falsely attributed to a real Toronto-based feminist activist named Ashleigh Ingle.
FART RAPE: HOW CRAZY ARE FEMINISTS?
“By farting louder the man is using passive aggressive violence to position himself as dominant, this intimidates the woman to subconsciously not release as much flatulence and thus the woman fearing for her safety doesn’t fart as loud as a sign of submissiveness, this in turn contributes to rape culture and women being oppressed.”
Snopes traced the origins of the hoax to The Water Pipe, an obscure anti-feminist blog.
A Dec. 2013 post published on The Water Pipe introduced the concept of farts as tools of the patriarchy:
Top feminist academics that have respectable diverse doctorates from medieval art, 6th century English to Women’s Studies gathered at the University of Toronto meeting center to discuss if human flatulence could be sexist. Ashleigh Ingle a proud feminist and an anarchist argued that because of patriarchal gender norms women were not allowed to release gas in public because of men’s unreal expectations of women to be clean and feminine.
Furthermore she articulated that if a woman was to fart in the presence of a man and the man responded by farting louder than the woman, than that would be rape. “By farting louder the man is using passive aggressive violence to position himself as dominant, this intimidates the woman to subconsciously not release as much flatulence and thus the woman fearing for her safety doesn’t fart as loud as a sign of submissiveness, this in turn contributes to rape culture and women being oppressed.”
Snopes noted that the meeting cited by The Water Pipe appears to be a panel discussion centering around criticisms of the Men’s Rights movement, which took place in September at a University of Toronto conference.
A recording of the discussion “clearly shows that neither Guthrie nor Ingle nor any other speaker made any mention whatsoever of flatulence, or any other bodily function, as a weapon of patriarchal oppression,” according to Snopes.
Snopes’ liberal bias?
Conservatives have in the past accused Snopes and fellow fact-checking website PolitiFact of having a liberal bias.
Last year, the right-leaning Media Research Center announced the launch of the Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers project, which aims to “ensure the fact-checkers themselves are reliable, or exposed as liberal partisans if they aren’t.”
Snopes was widely ridiculed in April for performing one of its infamous fact-checks on a clearly satirical article that claimed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez guessed “free” during an appearance on “The Price Is Right.”